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1912 T202 Hassan Triple Folder Advertising Display
Starting Bid - $50,000.00, Sold For - $98,600.00
Presented is the only known complete three-section Hassan tobacco store advertising display, produced to promote the classic 1912 Triple Folder tobacco card set, comprised of two giant "end panels," featuring Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson, and the previously unknown full-color center panel featuring the famous image of Cobb sliding into Jimmy Austin at third base (based on a photograph by Charles Conlin). The extraordinary large-scale T202 "end panel" displays have long been recognized as the premier baseball card advertising pieces of the 1910 era. Previous to this auction, only three T202 advertising end-panel signs in total were known to exist - two featuring Christy Mathewson and one featuring Ty Cobb. In years past, Robert Edward Auctions has had the privilege of auctioning all three of these extraordinary advertising signs. Each end panel is a stand-alone cardboard advertising sign in full color, standing a majestic 35 inches high and 15 inches wide. It was always our thought that perhaps a center panel advertising section was also produced, and that an example of the center section by chance did not happen to survive. This theory was based primarily on 1912 newspaper advertisements for Hassan featuring an artist's rendition of what could have been a three-piece Triple Folder advertising store display including a center panel featuring Cobb, but the existence of a center-panel style store advertising display has always been nothing more than a dream advertising piece which existed only in collectors' imaginations, the ultimate 1910-era tobacco advertising piece that could possibly exist but unfortunately did not - until now. When REA received a call asking if we would be interested in auctioning three T202 Triple Folder advertising signs, including a center panel featuring Ty Cobb sliding into third, we were stunned. It was like having the dream 1910-era baseball tobacco card advertising display fall from the sky and land in our lap. It is always exciting to have the opportunity to present the finest baseball advertising display pieces in the collecting world, but it is a special privilege for us to have the opportunity to document and present at auction a piece such as this, which was previously unknown, and so significant and incredible that only seeing is believing. The three sections of the store display are each separate as made. Each section is individually extraordinarily impressive. The set of all three sections displayed together as originally intended represent one of the collecting world's most astounding museum-caliber displays. Very few baseball advertising displays pieces approach the majesty or compare in significance to the offered set. The Hassan Triple Folder advertising display is the only in-store advertising display known to exist issued to promote baseball cards during the 1910-era golden years of the tobacco card. The T202 set, of course, is universally recognized as one of card collecting's most classic issues. Each section is printed in full color and on extremely sturdy (approximately 1/3-inch thick) cardboard. While it seems almost impossible that a set of end panels could surface out of the blue after all these years, and even more improbable that a never-before-seen center panel section should surface, it was particularly fascinating for us to learn that there was an amazing connection between the origins of this three-section advertising display, and that of the only other complete set of two "giant card" end-panels previously known. Both originate from the legendary collection of the Dr. Lawrence Kurzrok. Dr. Kurzrok was a contemporary of Charles Burdick, author of The American Card Catalog, and from the 1930s through the 1960s he amassed what may have been the largest card collection in the world. When newspapers came to take pictures for stories about his collection, Kurzrok would pose with the set of T202 advertising end-panels in the background. In the 1970s, Kurzrok's set of two end panels found its way, as did many of the hobby's greatest treasures, into the Barry Halper Collection, where they were also a highlight, and (as can be seen the video of the Halper Collection) were given the greatest place of honor, displayed in a giant wall safe which was reserved for only the most important items in his collection. (The wall safe door miraculously swung open when Barry pressed a button somewhere. Only he knew where.) What was never previously known by anyone, to the best of our knowledge, was that Kurzrok originally had two of each end-panel section, as well as a single giant center panel section which no one even knew existed. The consignor of this three-panel Hassan advertising display personally knew Dr. Kurzrok, visited with him, and had long admired the display. When visiting with Kurzrok in New York in 1970, Kurzrok sold it to him. He's had it ever since. This is how the premier advertising display piece of the Kurzrok Collection literally disappeared from the organized collecting world for decades, without ever having been properly documented and without anyone even being aware of its existence. Eventually the Kurzrok-Halper set of two end-panels was offered at auction by Robert Edward Auctions. Mathewson and Cobb appeared as Lot 6 and Lot 7 in the REA March 2001 sale, selling for $67,386 and $45,919 respectively. The only other previously known end-panel of Christy Mathewson has a history of selling several times. It was first sold by Wolffers in California (no longer in business) in September 1991 for $20,900, then sold by Robert Edward Auctions in July of 2000 for $62,540, and sold again at auction very soon after, in November 2001, at $50,511. All three previously known end-panels have had various condition problems including restoration and in-painting. As collectors of display pieces are well aware, many display pieces are easily restored if desired, and the T202 advertising pieces are among the most easily restored. Our consignor has elected to offer all three panels of the set together as a single lot, exactly as originally purchased from Dr. Kurzrok some thirty-six years ago. Condition: All three sections have various imperfections and general wear, and the end-panels have long ago had some isolated areas of in-painting, but as can be seen in the illustrations, all three sections display beautifully exactly as they are, and each section could be restored to virtual perfection with the advanced techniques available today if desired. All three sections are technically in Very Good condition, each with a far superior overall appearance. Dimensions: End panels each 15 x 30 inches; center-panel 30 x 40 inches; all three sections displayed together 40 x 60 inches. Reserve $50,000. Estimate (Open). SOLD FOR $98,600.00
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